Monday, January 24, 2011

How often do you run?

Following are the results of my "super-official, highly-scientific, nobody-can-doubt-it" poll that I had posted this past week ...

How many days per week do you run? 
7 days ... 0 (0%)
6 days ... 3 (14%)
5 days ... 11 (52%)
4 days ... 5 (23%)
3 days ... 2 (9%)
(Thank you to the 21 people who voted.  Of course there are several variables that would qualify a question like this.  For example if the respondent is currently injured?  Are they training for a marathon or 5K?  Are they tapering?   Are they recovering for a marathon?  Are there mountain lions where they live?  Many things Earl!)

Overwhelmingly, the most common answer was most people are running 5 days per week.  I found that a little surprising.   I really thought it would be 4.  A lot of runners use popular online running programs like Hal Higdon, Running The Planet, and  Runner's World Smart Coach. One of the most common "running days per week" assigned by these programs is 4.  I used the 4 days per week program for my first few marathons. I felt like it gave me more than adequate rest and I didin't feel overworked.

There has also been a big push over the past couple of years to run less mileage, and thus, days per week during training.  Runner's World published a book called "Run Less Run Faster", by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss, that suggests 3 runs per week ... 1 speed run, 1 tempo run, and 1 long run.  Run Like A Mother wrote a great review of the book and its training plan last year.

Based on her review, I would say she gave it two huge thumbs up.  The plan is probably great for some people.  However, I used the training plan for Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN last June.  I can tell you that I never felt LESS prepared for a marathon after using this plan.  I just never felt like I was racking up adequate mileage to prepare for the race.  In fact, it was this book and plan that was actually responsible for transforming me from a 3 or 4 day - low miles trainer, to a 6 day - high miles plan.

While training for the Top of Utah Marathon, I did a lot of research on elite runners.  I'm of course NOT an elite level runner, but I wanted to start training like one.  If found that many elite level runners, during heavy training periods, often log over 100 miles, with up to 14 runs during a 7 day training week.  So I started adding miles to my base and added two more days to my regimen.  For me it was perfect.  When I was running 4 days per week, I always felt like I was leaving a littke in the tank. I was always rested which was great, but I felt a little under-trained for some marathons.  To this point, my body has handled the extra miles just fine, and I've never felt stronger or more prepared when race time rolls around.

Like everything else, you just have to find what works for you.  The important thing is to keep running fun ... even if that's only a couple of days per week.  Regardless of how many days you train, be passionate, be safe, and ...
Be Great Today!


  1. The Hanson bros use a similar 3 day a week plan for their elites and seems to work for them. The intensity is really dialed up and I think that's what makes such a big difference.

  2. Another variable in the poll is that I currently train 6-7 days a week, but I voted 6 days. I have tried many different things from the Furman - 3 day to 7 days. While I enjoyed the Furman plan, and will likely go back to it when I'm a little older, I have the same opinion. To run "MY" best, I have to run more miles. I'm still testing the high mileage, but some results are in already in, and it works better for me. I am VERY fortunate, so far, my body has allowed the higher mileage even at "my current young age." I'm loving the higher mileage too.

  3. I missed the poll, but I'd have said 4. However, I am an "adult onset athlete" and a pokey runner. This year, I plan on trying to get in 1000 miles, still doing 4 days a week. If my speed starts to increase, I'd like to start upping my base mileage next year. But it's really tough to put in lots of miles when you are slow - I just don't have the hours in a day.

  4. Do you cross train or strength train? I try to run 3 to 4 days per week, strength train 2 days per week and do some sort of cross training 1 day per week with a rest day. Sometimes I find it difficult to fit it all in.

  5. I'm a 5 dayer...or at least I try to be most weeks. I definitely still feel like I need to get mileage in. I tried the 3 day a week plan for a race and it just made me feel lazy...I got my 3 runs in but the rest of the week I just didn't have the same mind set. For me it's mental, well I'm mental, but anyways, it helps me to stay focused to run more days a week than wanted to know that, right?


  6. I don't (and never have) followed any sort of training plan. I run based on what I have time/energy to do. So far it's worked. If I ever have a more extreme goal in mind, maybe I'll follow one.

    Unsure if I would "run less" or not. Only time I've ever done that is if I have an injury.


Thanks for stopping by ... your comment's always welcome!